We want to take some time today to talk about Champion Select.
1) What are the problems?
2) What are some potential solutions?
The player behavior team has been running research on Champ Select and we agree that Champ Select is currently not a great environment and does not set teams up for success. We’ve all experienced Champ Selects that have erupted in arguments and had that sinking feeling that the game is lost before it even started. In saying this, there are plenty of Champ Select lobbies that are awesome and being positive and cooperative in every lobby does help; however, being positive by itself will not solve the problems in Champ Select and we don’t expect it to.
Solving player behavior problems in League of Legends requires collaboration between us and players and we haven’t done our part in Champ Select yet. As you can imagine, the problems (and any potential solutions) are complicated.
Something we’re seeing in our research is the influence of context.
|Consider a player that’s having a bad day at work and nothing seems to be going right. This player goes home, and loads up some League of Legends thinking, “I really just want to be a Mage today—maybe Annie.” They enter a lobby, and second pick calls “Annie.” The first pick says, “fk, I’m mid, I want Twisted Fate. I’m first pick.” The lobby crumbles in front of the player and he doesn’t even want to throw his suggestion into the mix—it’s a lost battle. The team enters the game, and the player plays poorly… and his teammates yell at him. “You suck at Support, why didn’t you choose a Tank.” The player snaps. He rages back.|
This player's behavior isn’t toxic. He’s just like any one of us--we all have our bad days.
Let’s break down this scenario into some of the problems that we’d like to solve in Champ Select:
1) Real-Life Context | This scenario really illustrates how context outside the game can influence behavior inside the game. Traditionally, game studios don’t design or solve for context. Or can they?
2) In-Game Context | This scenario illustrates the conflict between Pick Order and Call Order. When there are literally no guidelines, at best, half of the players believe in Pick Order and half believe in Call Order—we’ve created a situation where conflicts are expected rather than rare.
3) Time Pressure | From psychology, we know that time pressure sometimes twists context in hostile ways. Players in Champ Select are effectively trying to negotiate with each other over individual goals (i.e, what role I want to play this game) that overlap with team goals (i.e, given this set of teammates, what’s the best strategy for us to win?). Studies suggest that throwing time pressure in there is like adding fuel to the fire—the end result is more disagreements and lower quality of negotiations.
4) Cognitive Biases | Hopefully davin will talk more about this, but people show cognitive bias in many ways. For example, many of us enter Champ Select thinking we are the best at whatever role we want to play—this is statistically impossible; however, there’s no reason to trust any of the strangers in the lobby. This really isn’t the players’ fault, it’s simply being human.
These are some major problems with Champ Select that we’ve identified in our research. So what’s next? A lot of players have suggested the following:
1) Vote Kick | Players want the ability to vote kick toxic players from Champ Select.
2) WoW Dungeon Finder | Players want the ability to queue up for a particular role like “Healer” and “DPS” and placed into a Champ Select with a team
3) Prisoner’s Island | Players want matchmaking to pair toxic players with toxic players, and positive players with positive players.
What are some pros and cons to these ideas? Would they work for League?